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Would you buy a guitar from a TINKERER??


Depends on the guitar. Given that it’s a custom shop Gibson, I’d be hesitant to buy one tinkered with or to tinker with one myself, as I’d be worried about resale value. I doubt all of my guitars are worth what that one is, so I absolutely tinker with mine, unless I’m planning to resell it. I buy cheap tinkered with guitars too, because I know I can fix just about anything that’s been done poorly.

I bought a an HH Jaguar while ago that sounded weird, so I opened it up and found that the bridge pickup (Duncan Designed JB) was installed in the neck slot and the neck pickup (Duncan Designed 59) was installed in the bridge slot. I asked the guy about it, and he said he’d paid a local shop I’m familiar with a pretty decent amount of money to install and coil split them, and the “tech” apparently put them in backwards. Easy fix for me, but as a rule, I don’t know that I trust tinkers at most shops any more than I trust a lone tinkerer.


Your idea of what he means by " tinkerer " may be different than what he actually means. Ask if he's made any mods - or what he's done for maintenance and set-up.

Tim Plains

$7,500 for a used, run of the mill in-house aged R9? :eek:
Look at Mark's Guitar Loft.

Ask for a picture of the pots. If the solder joints haven't been touched, it's original.


It looks like from the listing it's original but he may have aged the plastic and metal parts?

There's various levels of tinkering. Swapping out pickups/changing string gauges is relatively mild, common tinkering. Re-routing neck pockets, trem cavities or swapping of necks, refinishing/stripping is a whole other level. All depends on your comfort level. For the price the seller is asking, I'd be wanting minimal or no tinkering involved!

Changing string gauges is tinkering ?


Gold Supporting Member
Overpriced, but it's got a great top, and some of that "tinkering" looks pretty good, like the tuner buttons.


Gold Supporting Member
If I read the ad correctly, HE aged the plastic and the metal parts. They don't look bad, although I have no idea what that line running along the pick guard is about? I certainly wouldn't pay EXTRA for something with aged parts by "Joe". And that feels like an extra price. I'm pretty sure you can find Murphy aged 59s for less if you look. Will the tops be as good? Maybe not, now important is that to you? Worth mentioning that very few 59s (like less than 10) had tops that good.


I would. Though I was a bit bummed when a tinkerer on craigslist had a LP traditional on sale for $1000 with a bigsby he put on it. Don't care for the bigsby but the guitar was delicious. Unfortunately it was at a time when we had emergency vet bills and the wife would have probably smashed the headstock by throwing the guitar on the floor, skewer me with the neck and then wrapped the bigsby around my face before kicking me out the front door.

So other than a casual remark to see if she was receptive at all, response was stone cold silence so I decided not to pursue it any further lol.

Silent Sound

Just ask the dude what all has been done to it. I'm sure he'll be honest about it. Most tinkerers are proud of their work. I tinker with most of the stuff I own. I'm always willing to share what all I did. After all, I'm typically charging more for mine than what other, original examples are going for, if I decide to sell it. And I need to be able to justify the higher price I'm charging, so I'm always willing to share every detail about any changes I've made. Plus, I'm not going to make a change to something unless it's going to improve it. Otherwise, why waste my time and money doing the tinkering? So I have no problem giving a full report on what was wrong with the original, and how this improves it.

Now, personally, I'd pay less for the aging mods... a lot less. I feel they subtract a good bit of value, not add to it. But maybe there's someone out there who feels differently. And this guitar is for that person, not me. And that's okay.


Gold Supporting Member
I had a customer who was a tinkerer. He'd change pickups, pots, but no real idea what he was doing. Used duct tape 9/10 times instead of solder, plus just cutting/slicing to the original leads. If he did solder, the joints were as cold as a witche's tit in a brass bra.

Once he train wrecked them enough, they came to me for fixing, though I know multiple occasions where he simply flipped the mutilated instrument or returned it to guitar center.

So no. Not unless I examined pickups and electronics visually and with a meter.


I would ask for more details.
If it were me buying from me, I'd buy the guitar in a heartbeat. I only do super practical tinkers, like real, solid, reversible upgrades to components, shielding, etc... If a pot goes bad, it may be replaced with a quality push/pull to add a series/parallel feature, etc...


There was this beautiful Gibson 59 reissue I had my eyes on and it sold before I was able to purchase it.

The buyer is a guitar tinkerer and now he’s selling it. Not sure if he modified anything or exchanged any parts....I’m just uneasy about buying from individuals who have many listings of items they’ve tinkered with in the past. Not to say it is confirmed they tinkered with the latest one but still...

see the guitar here
Gibson Custom Shop Historic '59 Les Paul Standard 2018 Royal Teaburst, Aged

Also see the guys profile where he says he tinkers with stuff :brick
unless I have a really convincing reason not to, I tinker with everything. It's safe to assume most things in life were made adequately to serve their purpose for the largest possible market. The chances of finding something off the shelf that was made just with me in mind is... well... pretty low.

So I tinker. I'm a pretty damned good tinkerer.

That said - On the rare occasion that I sell something, if it is in any condition other than stock plus regular wear, it is noted in detail. I would never expect anyone to accept my tinkering at face value without at least being aware of it first and given the opportunity to ask questions or see my work (if it's a local sale).


As long as it can be untinkered, I’m generally ok with it. Permanent changes or shoddy repairs, not so much.

Noise Under The Floor

Platinum Supporting Member
You have to use the correct selling language when trying to sell a modified guitar. You call it “seriously upgraded.” At least that’s how it’s done on Reverb and the Emporium.

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